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SITTING AT THE PIANO

When I was a little girl
My mother took me aside
And said ‘if you learn to play the piano
You’ll fill my heart with pride’
 
So she sent me to the only piano
Teacher that she knew
And that was the moment
My childhood was through
 
I shall not say her name
Cause she died long ago
Did I play any part in her death
I’d like to say yes but no
 
She hovered over me
With a pencil poised in the air
And if I played a wrong note
It came crashing down right there
 
Yes right there on my knuckles
She’d whack them with that wood
and say ‘play it again – correct this time!’
This did not make me feel good
 
After every lesson
My knuckles were red and sore
And I would walk home crying
Yes sometimes I even swore
 
When a six year old says the F word
And says it right out loud
There is no debate this is not
What makes a mother proud
 
Some say pain is a motivator
To make you do better
But this pain only tortured me
I decided to write a letter
 
To Children Services
To lock my teacher up
But then this 6 year old chickened out
I had to suck it up
 
The more I didn’t practice
The more that pencil smacked me down
Soon I was the worst piano player
In the town
 
I begged my parents to let me quit
But this just went on
til a nice old grandma type
Her name was Mrs. BayJon
 
 A refined lady in her 60s
That’s the age I’m now at
She started taking lessons too
and the first time her hands got thwacked
 
she stood up grabbed that pencil
broke it right in two
then threw it in the teacher’s face
I swear this is all true
 
She stormed out of her lesson
And never ever went back
And to this day I think of mrs begin
When I hear knuckles crack
 
well word spread from house to house
we all had party lines
that Mrs. BayJon destroyed the demon pencil
I was on Cloud Nine
 
When my parents heard they let me quit
My knuckles recovered too
Tho on rainy days they sometimes swell
Piano teacher I blame you
 
A few years later I saw a woman
Play guitar on my TV
Laura Weber on PBS
I thought – the guitar, that might be for me!
 
I watched and played guitar with her
Knowing that if I played it wrong
She couldn’t hit me through the TV set
I started to write songs
 
I haven’t touched a piano
In maybe 50 years
Sitting at Julie’s brings back both
Memories and tears
 
But if she hadn’t cracked me with that pencil
I might not have taken up guitar
I’d probaby be a pole dancing prostitute
In a seedy Republican bar
 
So farewell, piano teacher,
I’m not sorry that you’re gone
But thanks to Julie Gold
this 6 year old
has finally moved on


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